We are all volunteers, advocates for our community working towards a future free from our polluted past. Our mission has changed a bit. Thrown a curve by the powerful political class in Pierce County, voters are being asked to extend term limits for Pierce County politicians. In the past year, we learned that the inside crowd is pushing for keeping the politicians in office that can deliver results for the fossil fuel industry that has their eye on the Port of Tacoma. The plan is two fold. One to get the darling of the industry elected as the next mayor and then to ensure the fossil fuel industry stays in control, they want to extend term limits for the county council members.
A little Tacoma history from the viewpoint of environmentally conscience and concerned citizens
2016 was the wake-up call when concerned citizens came together, and with a united force, got the largest methanol refinery in the world to back out of the deal they had with the Port of Tacoma. Proudly, Tacoma showed the world that we were no longer going to be in the shadow of Seattle, polluting industries will no longer be welcome in our port.
Politicians showed their true colors last year when Save Tacoma Water collected 17,000 signatures on a pair of water protection petitions, and were sued for their efforts. The water protection petitions were tossed off the ballot causing new ideas to emerge to take control of our destiny, here in the City of Destiny.
Taking over the council with five votes became a goal. Then in December, a politician resigned from office, to avoid the 10-consecutive term limits put into the Tacoma City Charter by a vote of the people in 1973. The glaring loophole exploited by one politician now opened the door for all incumbents in future years, to resign to restart the term limit clock. Essentially, term limits for Tacoma politicians became extinct as the charter is silent on how long a break in service should be before returning to the city council.
As concerned citizens in Tacoma, Washington, we are interested in ending the term limit loophole and filed a citizen initiative to amend the Tacoma City Charter. As such, Initiative 8 was filed and needed 17,000 signatures by July 7, 2017.
The signature goal was not met and now term limits for Pierce County council members is under attack.
As Water Protectors, we know that long time incumbents derive their power from the fossil fuel industry in our community so we oppose any proposals that extends term limits.